Notes: Hirano on hold; closer up for grabs

July 16th, 2020

SEATTLE -- With veteran placed on the injured list for unspecified reasons, manager Scott Servais mentioned right-handers , and and rookie lefty as late-inning candidates, though noting he won’t go with a set closer but will rely on matchups and who is available each night.

Hirano, 36, signed a free-agent deal with Seattle this year after two seasons with the D-backs. He’s the only Mariner who hasn’t been cleared to participate in camp yet, and on Tuesday the club placed him on the injured list. Major League Baseball has instituted a COVID-19 list this season, although clubs will not announce which players are placed on it because of privacy laws regarding individuals’ health.

Hirano worked as a closer his last five seasons in Japan from 2013-17 and had four saves with Arizona, where he worked primarily as a setup man.

“That was a guy we were really counting on, certainly later in games,” Servais said. “He’s got a ton of experience, which I thought was really valuable for our bullpen and our whole team. Putting a guy out there that has done it before, he’s closed games, he can pitch in high-leverage spots. We’re going to miss him. But hopefully when he gets in and up and going, we can build up that arm strength as quick as possible, because we really do need him.”

Short takes from T-Mobile Park
• Outfielder , the Mariners’ No. 2 prospect per MLB Pipeline, hurt himself apparently diving for a ball in a postgame drill. The 19-year-old was down on the ground for several minutes with a trainer looking at him, then walked slowly off the field. Teammate Tim Lopes said he thinks Rodriguez bent his wrist back on the diving attempt. Rodriguez laced an RBI double for his first hit in seven intrasquad at-bats during the game.

was scheduled to lead off and play left field on Wednesday, but he was a late scratch. With no available backup, the Mariners put 26-year-old coach Louis Boyd in his spot in left field, though he didn’t bat in the game. Boyd was the manager at Class A Short Season Everett last year and played in the Mariners’ Minor League system through 2018.

• Starting catcher sat out of Wednesday’s action after taking a foul ball off the instep of his left foot during the second inning of Tuesday’s intrasquad game, but Servais said he could be back as soon as Thursday.

• The Mariners will have one more afternoon intrasquad game on Thursday at 2:45 p.m. PT, take a day off on Friday and then begin playing their practice games at 6:10 p.m. PT every night from Saturday through next Wednesday.

The shift to later start times is to get the club acclimated to playing at night when the regular season opens Friday, July 24, in Houston. Thursday’s game is tentatively scheduled for seven innings, with rookies and making their second intrasquad starts.

• Center fielder , utility man and catcher -- who all were cleared to finally join the team on Monday -- took live batting practice against on Tuesday, and Servais said they look good enough that it’s possible they’ll get an at-bat in Thursday’s intrasquad game. If not, they’ll return on Saturday.

“Give them credit,” Servais said. “They couldn’t do much the last 10 days to two weeks sitting in their hotel rooms, but they look really good so far.”